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Flying Blind: How Political Correctness Continues to Compromise Airline Safety Post 9/11

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Radio talk show host Michael Smerconish asks the question: In a post-9/11 world marked by constant threat of terrorism, why do the Department of Transportation and the Transportation Security Administration continue to jeopardize airline security by enforcing outdated screening regulations that cater to political correctness? The policy in question-disallowing airline security screeners from using profiling to target young Arab males for secondary screening-goes against the basic police investigative strategy of ...

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Overview

Radio talk show host Michael Smerconish asks the question: In a post-9/11 world marked by constant threat of terrorism, why do the Department of Transportation and the Transportation Security Administration continue to jeopardize airline security by enforcing outdated screening regulations that cater to political correctness? The policy in question-disallowing airline security screeners from using profiling to target young Arab males for secondary screening-goes against the basic police investigative strategy of using pertinent information to pinpoint suspects and prevent further terrorist attacks. The issue first came to light during the 9/11 Commission hearings, and Smerconish's investigation gets to the heart of it. Drawing from U.S. Government documents, testimony from the 9/11 hearings and the June 24, 2004 special Senate hearing, on-the-record conversations with major airline officials and government representatives from the TSA and the Pentagon, personal experience, and various news stories and first-person accounts, Smerconish weaves together a stunning portrait of our flawed and failing airline security structure, and offers a strong solution.Includes audio CD with testimony from the 9/11 Commission hearings, testimony from a special U.S. Senate hearing about airline security, and excerpts from Smerconish's radio program including conversations with 9/11 Commissioner John Lehman, U.S. Senators Arlen Specter and John McCain, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher, and more.

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Editorial Reviews

Hannity & Colmes
Michael Smerconish is saying what many Americans are thinking-we need to have this debate.
Sean Hannity
Publishers Weekly
Flying with his family, Smerconish, a radio talk-show host and newspaper columnist based in Philadelphia, twice had his eight-year-old son chosen for "secondary screening"-and was twice able to substitute himself without incident, despite his carrying odd-looking electronic broadcast gear. Mulling the ease with which he made it though the process, he then learned of a federal policy to fine airlines "if they have more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning." (The actual testimony from an airline industry rep was that the Justice Department said a screening system would be discriminatory if it flagged more than three people of the same ethnic origin.) Contacting the Department of Transportation, Smerconish was told secondary screening is random or behavior-based. Tracing down the decisions that led to these policies in detail-and decrying the policies themselves-Smerconish argues that the U.S. should give some weight to stereotypes. His hero is an immigration inspector in Orlando in 2001, who stopped a Saudi national (likely the 20th hijacker) who became visibly upset when asked why he lacked a return ticket. Designed to provoke Congress to address the tension between nondiscrimination and airlines' capacity to refuse passengers, this book, with its senatorial foreword, may do just that. (Sept. 1) Forecast: Airline safety remains a hot-button issue three years after the September 11 attacks. Smerconish will be appearing on local and national TV and radio; a 50,000-copy first printing, $25,000 marketing campaign, first serial to Philadelphia magazine and included audio CD of interviews will add to the buzz. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762423767
  • Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/30/2004
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael A. Smerconish, Esq. hosts a daily morning-drive talk show in Philadelphia. He is a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and has appeared on CNBC, O'Reilly Factor, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and Today.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2005

    When will the politicians pick up on this?

    This amazing book is absolutely outstanding. it speaks the truth about how airlines must meet these 'PC Standards' while our lives are at risk. I fly alot, and all the time I see these ridiculous random checks going on in airport terminals. Do not get on an airplane without reading this book. As a matter of fact, bring it with you and show it off if you can.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2004

    Informative Read

    Michael has put his reputation on the line with this book. The initial critisism will be that he wants to profile all Middle Eastern men and to detain them for additional questioning. Please read the book! Michael only wants the security forces guarding our airports to just take those characteristics into account when evaluating potential terrorists. Let's not be afraid to recognize the commonalities of the hijackers of all the airlines in the last 50 years. Way to go Michael!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2004

    The truth stings

    In this post 9/11 world, Michael Smerconish tells it like it is. The U.S. and the rest of the world is at war with a radical element, but refuse to take the steps necessary to protect our way of life. Great book, great author and a timely expose on what the U.S. government is NOT doing to protect its citizens.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2004

    Sometimes the Truth Hurts

    Though I consider myself a moderate to liberal Democrat and very pro-civil liberties, this book strikes a very disturbing chord as to how political correctness can be harmful to one's health. Michael Smerconish's premise is powerful and logical. I do not consider this an ideological diatribe, rather is is a cohesive, well reasoned argument that should be embraced by President Bush and Senator Kerry before it is too late.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2004

    Smerconish is saying what we're all thinking, even though most of us are too afraid to admit it

    The book is a quick yet informative read and is all backed up by numerous government documents and codes (many of which are reproduced in the appendix). Overall, the book¿s best attribute is that it stands as a call to action for people who are fed up with the lack of common sense in government. If we ever want to win the war on terror, we are going to have to stop worrying about offending a few people and start worrying about protecting everyone. Michael Smerconish addresses this issue and says what many Americans have been thinking¿political correctness has to go.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2004

    The most carefully constructed arguements calling for the end of PC in America

    I am an avid listener of Michael radio show each morning. He's got a great insight into today's political correctness run amuck. No doubt will this book be another testiment to a fine individual with carefully crafted thoughts on today's challenges. And this specific issue, Michael presents his opinions with the strongest of conviction and care for the future of America. My only question is 'when will Michael run for a public office?' I don't consider myself a conservative, but I'll fight to be the first one to vote for him!

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